Many business owners don’t know how to code a website, optimize for SEO or setup the hosting for their e-commerce store since their expertise often lies in what they know best, their business.
Luckily, there are many e-commerce platforms available for companies to setup their online store without having to worry about the technical details and labor-intensive legwork.
Shopify is a powerful e-commerce management platform that helps businesses better manage their online store and optimize it to encourage more traffic and sales.
The platform offers many features to help a company boost the effectiveness of their e-commerce store like custom landing pages, beautiful themes, flexible website design tools, advanced marketing functionality and more to help business owners spend less time focusing on the technical aspects and more time helping grow their business to its full potential.
If you’re considering using Shopify to run your e-commerce store, then here’s how to use the platform to drive ongoing drive traffic and sales for your business.
Streamlined Search Engine Optimization
The number one referral source to many online businesses is organic traffic from the search engines like Google, Yahoo and Bing. To help ensure the search engines drive relevant traffic to your e-commerce store, it’s important to optimize every aspect of your website including your pages, blog content and images.
Many websites require customizations to their CMS or the download of a plugin if you’re using WordPress in order to optimize the metadata for your web content. Shopify has built in functionality on the backend of your website to help optimize the title tag, meta description, and URL of any page right out of the box.
This helps to streamline the process of optimizing for SEO to help rank your company’s web content for the right keywords relevant to your customer base, especially if your website is optimizing for local search.
When filling out the title tag and meta description fields to optimize your website, remain aware of the character limits of each, as labeled by Shopify, to make sure you are able to explain the content of a page without any part of it getting cut off in the search results pages.
Choose a short and simple URL for any page or blog post on your website by separating each word with a dash and removing any unnecessary words to help optimize your URL for SEO.
Customizable Visual and Navigational Structure
A Shopify e-commerce store allows your business to easily alter the way your website is structured both from a visual and navigational standpoint.
Simply alter the navigational structure of your e-commerce store to create the best experience for your customers, as seen below it’s easy to switch the order of your website’s header navigation without the help of a developer.
The Shopify interface allows your team to create drop-down menus to further streamline and simplify the navigation to help offer a clear path for your customers from your homepage to the various sections of your website.
When it comes to altering the visual layout of your website to better improve a visitor’s journey, Shopify allows any website owner to alter one of their existing themes to suit their needs or change the theme completely.
Shopify offers business owners a store of paid and free themes to use to properly establish and brand their websites, whether it’s an e-commerce store or otherwise.
Choose a design that best suits the needs of your online audience to help improve sales for the long-term, updating your Shopify website as your business grows and the demands of your audience change.
Having control over the visual and navigational structure of your website can help your organization avoid common marketing problems and increase sales since the user experience is more conducive to moving visitors to make a purchase or make another action with your business.
This experience can also be further optimized by running an A/B test to see which features of your website can be altered to drive more results.
Once your business identifies optimization opportunities from A/B testing based on user feedback, the Shopify platform allows your team to quickly and easily alter most aspects of your website to better optimize.
Integration with Social Media
As social media becomes a major factor in your success with SEO and a more essential part of a well-rounded business online, it’s important to understand how to tie your e-commerce store to your social media marketing activities.
Luckily, Shopify offers a variety of social media apps and plugins to add to your website to better connect your store with your communities on different channels.
Similarly to the Shopify theme store, some of these apps are free, while others are a one-time fee or a recurring fee to apply to your website.
Of the vast selection of social apps and plugins to add to your website, these are the most useful to help drive results for your business:
- • Social Login: For $9 a month, this app allows your customer base to sign-in to your website from their Facebook, Google+, Twitter, Yahoo!, LinkedIn, Microsoft Live, QQ and Weibo login. By offering another two or three popular sign-in options, your team has the opportunity to make it much easier for your users to sign-up and to sign-in to your website.
- • Twitter Cards: If you’re spending part of your marketing budget on Twitter advertising, then the Twitter cards app will help better integrate your ad campaigns and your website. Instead of having to add code to your website, the app will validate your website with Twitter automatically. This helps simplify the Twitter card setup process, reduces the chance of any errors associated with adding code to your website and allows your organization to view analytics from your card campaigns.
- • AddThis Sharing Tool: The AddThis Sharing tool integrates social sharing buttons of your choice from all the major social networks to your e-commerce store. Add social sharing buttons from Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Pinterest and elsewhere, depending on which make sense to include on your online store. Keep the selection of sharing buttons simple by only choosing four or five to feature on the pages of your website at any one time.
- • PICT Shoppable Photos: The photos shared on social media by your organization and customer base of your products can help increase conversations about your business and generate more long-term sales, once these images are widely distributed to the right people. Integrating PICT into your Shopify website, allows your organization to tag your photo content before sharing to help link your products present in an image. These photos can be displayed alongside your products to help illustrate for future customers how they are regularly used by existing customers.
- • SumAll: SumAll’s app for Shopify is necessary, since it’s one of the most popular free integrations used on the platform by business owners. It allows your organization to integrate what’s happening on your social channels with your Shopify e-commerce store and other online channels where your business is active. These analytics can help your company better understand how every platform and marketing channel is impacting your bottom line.
Customer Relationship Management
In order to retain and grow your relationships with your customer base, it’s important to manage their interactions with your business at each stage of the process.
The customers section of the Shopify interface acts as a CMS for your business allowing your team to upload your existing customer list with a CSV file.
The most effective part of this feature is the ability to filter through your customer base to get actionable insights about their shopping habits. Use these insights into customer shopping behaviors to help inform your email marketing strategy to better match how returning shoppers interact with your business.
For example, your company could choose to send e-mails to customers that abandoned their cart and remind them to finish their order or even send them a promo code to incentivize them to complete their order.
These insights are extremely valuable for your business since they can help inform future interactions with your customers whether that’s on your website, through your marketing or how your products continue to evolve.
What platform is your organization using to run its e-commerce store and why? Which Shopify features would be most beneficial for your business? Share your thoughts below.